2016: My Bold Predictions

2015 has come and gone, and 2016 is here to stay. Well, until next year. With that, speculation abounds as to what will happen this year, how everything will play out. Most of the stuff will be absolutely insane. Even the things that appear sane right now will appear insane come December 31st 2016. So I’m going to be beyond sane in this crystal ball of mine. I’m not going insane, just beyond the standard mold (like I won’t pick the 76ers to win the NBA Finals this season.) So, these are my bold predictions for the year of 2016 (in chronological order)

1/4/2016: Jason Garrett is fired as the coach of the Dallas Cowboys. Now this isn’t incredibly bold, but people have been starting to speculate that his job’s safe. I don’t think so. Jerry Jones is notoriously impatient, and with the large amount of struggles on offense without Tony Romo and a limited Dez Bryant I don’t see how Garrett keeps his job with the boss he has.

1/11: If you consider it a bold prediction, the Alabama Crimson Tide defeat the Clemson Tigers 31-21 in the College Football Championship.

1/12: Chip Kelly is named the head coach of the Cleveland Browns. I sincerely think this is the job Chip is going to get, not the Titans. The Browns are in all regards a better team than the Titans, and require less of a build than the Titans. It’s a better job, and with a quarterback with the same kind of skill set that Chip is good with, it’s a match made in heaven (hell?).

1/13: One day after the Browns “surprisingly” nab Chip, the NFL announces that only the Chargers and Raiders are being allowed to move to Los Angeles. The Rams stay in St. Louis.

1/17: The Washington Redskins upset the Carolina Panthers in the Divisional Round. Remember in my playoff predictions how I said the Redskins had that 2007 and 2011 New York Giants feel? In these bold predictions they go full 2007/2011 Giants and make it to the NFC Championship, where they’ll beat the Cardinals en route to a date with the Patriots in Super Bowl 50.

2/4: The Washington Redskins upset the New England Patriots 27-24 on a last second interception on the goal line. Julian Edelman drops a potential touchdown two plays before the interception. Kirk Cousins is named Super Bowl MVP.

Sometime in March: Ronda Rousey challenges Holly Holm to a rematch. The match is scheduled for October.

Sometime in March: Michigan State defeats Kentucky for the Men’s College Basketball Championship.

4/9: The Golden State Warriors defeat the Memphis Grizzlies for an NBA record 73rd victory and become “the best NBA team ever”. They finish the regular season 74-8.

4/28: The Tennessee Titans pick Joey Bosa from Ohio State with the first pick of the NFL Draft. Paxton Lynch is the first quarterback picked (5th by the 49ers)

5/22: The NHL Finals between the Florida Panthers and the Los Angeles Kings begins with a 2-0 win for the Panthers.

6/1: The NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Indiana Pacers begins with a Pacers win, 107-106.

6/2: The Florida Panthers win the NHL Finals for the first time in franchise history 4 games to 2 over the LA Kings.

6/17: The Indiana Pacers upset the Golden State Warriors on a last second buzzer beater to win Game 7 of the NBA Finals to take home the Championship.

Sometime in July: The Washington Wizards sign Kevin Durant to a five year multi-million dollar deal.

8/6: Tony Dungy, Terrell Owens and John Lynch are among the six players/coaches inducted into the Pro-Football Hall of Fame.

8/10: The USA comes second overall in the Olympics behind China. The US Mens Basketball and Womens Basketball teams do claim the gold in Rio.

8/24: FIFA acknowledges bribery by Qatar for the 2022 World Cup. Qatar is stripped from hosting the World Cup and replaced by Canada. Sites are Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Quebec City, Hamilton, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Calgary, Regina, Saskatoon, and London (Ontario).

9/8: The NFL season begins with the Washington Redskins against the Detroit Lions. Unfortunately those who watched it gouged their eyes out due to the reintroduction of the “Color Rush”. Detroit wins 17-10.

9/11: Tom Brady starts the beginning of a down year (for him) by throwing an interception against the Jets on the first play of the first game of the season. The Patriots lose 24-13.

10/2: The MLB Season ends (is this really that bold a prediction?) with the Houston Astros as the Number 1 seed in the American League (there it is).

10/4: The Minnesota Twins win their Wild Card game against the Yankees, allowing them to advance to the playoffs where they upset the Astros and the Royals to make it to the MLB Championship against the Chicago Cubs.

10/13: The NHL Season starts between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings. Chicago wins 3-0.

10/23: Ronda Rousey defeats Holly Holm in a knockout 31 seconds into the first round, avenging her loss last year.

10/25: The NBA season tips off between the Indiana Pacers and the Washington Wizards. The Wizards win the game 87-80.

10/30: The first meeting between the Chargers and Raiders since they moved to Los Angeles occurs. The LA Raiders win 31-10.

10/31: The Chicago Cubs win the Pennant for the first time since 1908.

11/6: Halfway through the NFL’s season, there are three unbeatens left (Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks and New York Jets) and one winless team left (San Francisco 49ers).

11/8: The NFL announces that it’s no longer doing “Color Rush” Thursday nights, and everybody breathes a collective sigh of relief.

11/24: The Detroit Lions are the first NFL team to clinch a playoff berth.

12/4: The last CFP Rankings are released, with #1 Alabama, #2 Oregon, #3 Michigan, and #4 Kansas State.

12/4: Lions lose their first game of the regular season, there are no unbeaten teams left.

12/18: The Chiefs and Jets clinch an AFC Wild Card bye.

12/25: New England clinches a Wild Card berth despite the struggles of Tom Brady. The sixth seed is still up for grabs between the Bills, Jaguars and Raiders. Jets clinch #1 seed.

12/25: Rematch between the Warriors and Pacers. Warriors win 99-87.

12/31: Alabama defeats Kansas State 24-20. Oregon defeats Michigan 37-31.

11:59 pm 12/31: Canada declares war on the United States for electing Trump and conquers everything. All sporting events are cancelled in 2017 except for Canadian Football, hockey and curling.

And finally we reach 2017. What an eventful 2016. While none of this may come to pass (especially that last prediction. Trump for President? Bah.), I look forward to reviewing what I got right and wrong, and then making predictions for 2017. I hope we are all prepared for our eventual Canadian overlords.

2016: My Bold Predictions

Under The Radar: Alabama Men’s Basketball

I haven’t followed every NCAA basketball team this season. How can I? I am but a single man who has basic cable in a student apartment who has other duties outside of watching every basketball game. There’s just been one question, nagging at me as the season has gone on:

Where is the love for Alabama Basketball?

If you’re just a casual fan, this may come as a bit of a shock. Alabama has a basketball team? Indeed they do, and they are by far one of the most underrated teams in the sport right now. Sure, it doesn’t matter right now considering Conference play is just around the corner. It just irks me that such a good team is being overlooked by the nation, especially by the AP Poll.

Now, I have to address my Alabama bias. Yes, I love the Crimson Tide. I go to school here at the University of Alabama, and I’ll bleed Crimson until the day I die. With that being said, I want to assure whoever is reading this that what I’m saying is based on statistical evidence. I’m trying hard to not let my bias interfere with this, and for people in schools that are being overlooked like Alabama this is about you too. This same argument can be applied to your team as well. With that out of the way:

As of this post, the AP Poll currently has Kentucky at number 4. Now, that’s likely to change given that Kentucky lost to Ohio State, but they’re still probably going to be ranked. They have the same amount of losses as Alabama at the time of this post (2). Let’s compare the two losses: Kentucky has lost to UCLA and Ohio State. Both respectable teams to be sure, this is not a knock against a Kentucky team expected to be rebuilding. But if we compare that to Alabama’s losses (Xavier and Dayton), you can see that Alabama’s losses are stronger than Kentucky’s losses. Xavier is a top ten team, and Dayton is on the threshold of the top 25, while UCLA is also on that threshold and Ohio State is mere cannon fodder this season.

“Well, okay” you might say. “But what about the teams they’ve beaten? Surely Kentucky has that nailed.” Well, the schedule says otherwise. Alabama has beaten two powerhouse teams away from home (Wichita State and Notre Dame, both of which got votes by the AP Poll last week) and Kentucky beat Duke at home. Duke is pretty good, but that’s the only solid, good team they beat. And while Notre Dame isn’t solidly good, there’s a reason many experts expected them to go dancing before the season began.

My point isn’t to disparage Kentucky. They’re absolutely an amazing team that deserves the recognition for their good. My point is that there are teams that are good, like really really good. Teams like South Carolina, who thrash the teams they’re supposed to thrash (They’re 10-0 by the way. That’s not something you see non-Top 25 teams do.) They’re ranked 30th in the FPI. Guess who’s behind them? Duke. There are teams like Alabama, who are actually good but don’t get the recognition they deserve. Alabama is ranked 22nd in the FPI, but they haven’t received a single vote in either the AP or USA Today Polls. At least South Carolina is ranked in the USA Today Poll and has several votes in the AP Poll.

Alabama at least deserves some recognition for the gauntlet that they’ve run through this season so far. Avery Johnson deserves a ton of credit for how far he’s brought this team in only a year, from NIT nobodies to contenders for March Madness. It’s in the stats: this is a worthy team that deserves to dance far more than some teams that the people in the AP Poll are voting for. And if this team somehow manages to knock off Kentucky January 9th, everyone else might be shocked, but I wouldn’t be. They’re that good this season.

Under The Radar: Alabama Men’s Basketball